Faial Farewells

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Horta is the yachting metropolis, where bright young sunburned things in spray jackets drink well-deserved, post-atlantic gin&tonics, and salty seadogs prop up the bar of Peter's Cafe Sport, staring wide-eyed and slack-jawed as testament to not having seen a woman for weeks...

Peter's Cafe Sport is famed in the yachting world. Faial Island and it's deep harbour of Horta is the place where trans-Atlantic yachtsmen have stopped for decades to make repairs, find crew, grab a gin&tonic, leave or collect mail pinned above Peter's Bar. Some left behind flags, others simply paintings on the walls of the marina.

It's a bright, thriving town, a little jolt back to the reality of end-of-holiday-work-is-nearing after the general quietness and quaintness of our previous islands: Pico and Sao Jorge. The trade-off is that Faial lacks the community feel of the other islands. Horta town is definitely savvy about travellers.

Nonetheless it's our last stop on tour, the place to bid farewells, take final pictures and get slightly sentimental over bottles of wine and dinner cooked on hot volcanic rocks.

Some groups are exhausted and make a quiet night. Others are rowdy and give me mad presents such as disposable paper knickers (a present from the travelling nurses!), or a most welcome block of parmegan cheese and jar of pesto that I have been craving. And we continue on from resturant to the g&t's of Peter Cafe Sport and sit on the marina walls into the night.

Then the next morning we head to the airport and watch their aeroplane land with the backdrop of Pico mountain. Last photos and goodbyes

An hour and half after waving off my group from the airport roof I make my own flight. Via the stunning views of the top of Pico mountain, I head back to Ponta Delgada town, Sao Miguel island, to begin the tour all over again, with the luxury (and I kid you not) of an entire evening to myself, 3:30pm onwards!

I take that treasured jar of pesto and sparingly use it to cook my dinner in the backrooms of the hotel that evening. This is absolute luxury in Tour leader life: an eveing off and no restaurant food for dinner!
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